Four hundred mature rainbow trout were released into the South River in downtown Waynesboro on Tuesday.
The trout, provided by Casta Line Farms in Goshen, were paid for by donations from the local South River Fly Shop, the Shenandoah Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Tourism Association of Greater Waynesboro.
The trout released Tuesday were 12 to 14 inches long.
Clair Myers, president of the tourism association, said the improved health of the river and the popularity of trout fishing made Tuesday’s stocking a good move.
“We hope we will soon have some trophy trout here,” said Myers, the executive director of the Wayne Theatre Alliance.
An estimated 4,000 people from all over the region visit the South River in downtown to fly fish each year, according to the tourism association.
Tommy Lawhorne, owner of the South River Fly Shop on Main Street, said that the health of the river has improved over the past two decades, and that that improvement has been aided by last year’s closing of the Rife-Loth Dam upriver.
“Folks are coming here from all over Virginia,” said Lawhorne, who noted that he worked with a fisherman earlier this week from Mississippi, and has one from England coming here soon.
Lawhorne said it is vital to have fish available when people come to the river downtown.
“We want them to have plenty of fish to catch,” he said.
He described Tuesday’s events as supplemental to the trout stocking done three times a year by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.